Pulp fiction—no, not the movie—is a term named for the low grade paper that much of the science and escapist fiction that came out in the first half of the 20th century was printed on. There was so much content coming out for the mass audiences that one could say it was a breeding ground for creative talent, which is why it’s an endearing compliment one can give to any works today. It’s not mainstream, takes chances and can give audiences something new, which is probably why critics love to brandish things with the pulp moniker. With all that said, is this pulp, and is it good?
Black Science #1 (Image Comics)
Right out of the gate I know how people will read this book and think, “oh, this is Fantastic Four for adults,” or, “oh it’s a pulp revolution,” and to those people I say, “please shut up.” No, this is its own thing, and while it has moments that are reminiscent of other properties it’s very clear writer Rick Remender is playing around with something fresh and new. Oh, and it’s bonkers with the sciencey alien stuff!
♫A whole new woooorld!♫
The issue opens with our science hero, an anarchist who plays by his own rules, breaking through reality to find new worlds and creatures to examine. Unfortunately for him and his team, there is less time spent examining and more time running for your life. Chaos would be an understatement, and this issue goes as far as taking out a member of his team. The majority of this issue is an intro to the premise through the protagonist’s thoughts, and said protagonist and a compatriot running for their lives. Remender balances the breakneck chase sequence well with the narration as they ebb and flow to keep you involved but also on the edge of your seat. By issue’s end I was a tad lost as to what the deal was with this team, but it’s clear that’s on purpose to keep the tidbits coming for issues to come.
You jerk, you f----d up on Sara!
The art by Matteo Scalera and Dean White is painterly and incredibly inventive. There are panels that remind me of whole new worlds ala Avatar and the character designs and expressions match the inventive style. There are a few facial expressions that come off as cartoony, which is fine by me, but do take it out of the ultra realistic flow here and there. Much of this art reminds me of Daniel Acuña but with a much more robust color palette.
- Dreamlike and beautiful art
- Interesting world to explore
- Scant details on story and character aside from the solicit
Is It Good?
This is a good first issue, much like a breakneck first episode of a TV show. We’re getting scant details on character, but being introduced to the pace and world that will blow us away for the following issues. There’s a definitive splash made here, and whether it’s in your taste level or not, you’ll be taken aback by much of this content.